Putting the cat in the box: why our models should consider subsurface heterogeneity at all scales

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

Abstract

Subsurface heterogeneity is found across the whole hydrological cycle. It causes preferential flow in the soil, the vadose zone, and the bedrock. Aside of this, it has many other consequences for water flow and storage. This opinion paper discusses the implications of subsurface heterogeneity across the hydrological cycle and its implications for hydrological modeling. It focuses on the representation (and misrepresentation) of subsurface heterogeneity within hydrological models at different scales. Possible limitations to the prediction performance of hydrological models that disregard subsurface heterogeneity are introduced and discussed. The paper ends with practical recommendations to include subsurface heterogeneity into hydrological models, to parameterize them realistically, and to present possible directions for future research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)478-486
Number of pages9
JournalWiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Water
Volume3
Issue number4
Early online date22 Mar 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2016

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